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OfflineNiamhNyx
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my love interest has boundary asserting issues...
    #8376641 - 05/08/08 09:13 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

After seeing this guy for a couple of months he started to get a bit avoidant and distant so I awkwardly brought it up and asked what was going on. We ended up having what seemed like a very positive and productive 'what are we doing' talk in which he stated that he felt like we'd just fallen into a relationship which he wasn't ready for, that we'd skipped a step in the process of getting to know one another. I asked him to define wht he meant by "relationship" because I honestly don't really know the difference between that and just spending time with someone you really like. He thought the difference was the level of expectation that goes along with it. He also thought that I seemed to have a whole lot of expectations about what was going on with us. I explained that if he isn't clear about when he wants space then I just couldn't be expected to know that I should go home and not stay over. I would often specifically ask if I was welcome to come over and he always said yes, even when he didn't mean it. So because on several occasions I came over or slept over when he would have prefered us to go our separate ways he assumed I expected it, although he never tried to set clearer boundaries.

Anyways, so when we had our talk he was saying how he really liked me alot and bla bla bla, and I filled in 'so... this means you want to back off? and what? no more makey outey for now?' and he said pretty much yeah. He made a point of saying that he wants to spend possibly even more time with me but just go slower and cut out the physical affection element for now. I accepted that. When I explained that a big part of why I just inserted myself into hanging out with him and his friends is that, although I have alot of friends, I don't have a group that I hang out with on a regular basis that I can count on to be there, and he said that I was welcome to hang out with them all the time if I wanted.

So all of this sounded fine by me, although I admitted it might be a wee bit difficult to get used to not touching him all the time, it wouldn't really be problematic because he overtly stated: a) he still really liked me b) he really wanted to get to know me and spend time together c) I was welcome to hang out on a regular basis, bla bla bla. So this sounds all well and good, but since then, half the time I've seen him he's been wierd and avoidant and when I've dropped by he's been fine and cool a few times but at other times really wierd about it and I don't really understand what that's all about. It seems that perhaps he felt a boundary crossed but yet again didn't articulate it. After the last awkward time I dropped by (he doesn't have a phone which is a major hindrance) I felt gross and decided to just completely back off and leave it to him to make the effort. I ran into him on the street a few days later and made the point to not assume we were hanging out and said that I was going to get pizza. He ended up walking with me for a few blocks and as we were parting ways he said he wanted to hang out with me soon and the way he said it I got the impression that he was implying he was sorry being avoidant, or was aware of how it would be confusing or something. I said "ok, call me sometime then" and left it at that.

I've gotten some huge mixed signals and I'm not really sure what to make of it all. I'm trying as best I can to be respectful of his boundaries, but it seems he has a difficult time articulating them and makes assumptions about what I want, or thinks it will hurt my feelings if he tells me he feels like being alone even though I overtly told him several times that I would prefer if he just told me and that I wouldn't take it personally because I understand and respect that people have differing needs at differing times. Ultimately, though, it's hurting my feelings more that he's being avoidant than it would if he could just articulate himself and his needs more directly. It'd be alot easier and more comfortable if I was just in the know rather than left to wonder.

Advice?


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Invisiblemushbaby
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8376778 - 05/08/08 10:42 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

He sounds like he is a nice guy. Sometimes it's hard for them to say what they really feel because they don't want to hurt the other person.

From what you've written I'd say he does like you but is worried that you are expecting to hook up more permanently. Even though you told him you don't, he will still think you do. When I was single I couldn't believe how skittish guys were about that. I was happy just being "friends with benefits" but they just always seemed to think I wanted something serious. Go figure.

My suggestion would be to back off. Let him miss you. Still be friendly when you see him, but let him know you aren't the clingy type by giving him that space he seems to need.


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: mushbaby]
    #8376854 - 05/08/08 11:33 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

mushbaby said:

From what you've written I'd say he does like you but is worried that you are expecting to hook up more permanently.  Even though you told him you don't, he will still think you do.  When I was single I couldn't believe how skittish guys were about that.  I was happy just being "friends with benefits" but they just always seemed to think I wanted something serious.  Go figure.





Haha, this is so true. They assume that you assume that you're going to become a serious "couple" when you've never said that. Apparently being enthusiastic about spending time with a guy you have a big crush on means you want his babies. :lol:

I told him all I wanted was to get to know him and to honestly communicate and enjoy our crush on each other, but he seems to insist on worrying that I'm secretly planning to load all sorts of demands on him. He's an awkward, emotional little thing. It's what makes him so charming but also what makes him so frustrating!

I think you're right about fully backing off. I've already decided that's what I should do. It's just irritating that he's avoidant when finding a comfortable niche wouldn't be all that difficult if he'd just talk to me and stop being afraid. It's especially silly considering how productive and positive our talk was...


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OfflineGrok
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8378840 - 05/08/08 08:46 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

You've given him all the power. Back off and feign disinterest or having other priorities, namely guys he doesn't like. He'll scramble for your attention. Just kidding, don't play games like that.

Have you told him what you've told us? That your intentions aren't to corral him? It can be an awkward subject, but one that is best dealt with early on.

Besta luck.


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InvisibleWhiskeyClone
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: mushbaby]
    #8378919 - 05/08/08 09:09 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

mushbaby said:

Let him miss you.




--------------------
Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man.  For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire.  Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it.

~ R.W. Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

:heartpump:


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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8378961 - 05/08/08 09:22 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Well stop making him feel corralled! Tell him it's not your intentions and if you really like him, be patient.


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Invisiblememes
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: Penguarky Tunguin]
    #8379123 - 05/08/08 10:00 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I think you're handling it well.


Keep up the good work - just don't fuck him over [had to say it, for all the skittish guys out there - i know you won't :smile:]


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: Grok]
    #8379405 - 05/08/08 10:49 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Grok said:

Have you told him what you've told us? That your intentions aren't to corral him? It can be an awkward subject, but one that is best dealt with early on.






Yes! But then, apparently, my harmless enjoyment of seeing him something like once or twice a week and dropping by (after he said I should drop by whenever, and remember, he doesn't have a phone) gave him the wrong impression even after I made myself as clear as possible. Y'all are totally right. Backing off completely is the way to go.

We used to have neutral territory, the coffee shop his roomate owned that I used to study at (it's where we first saw each other, fermented our mutual crush, and eventually conversed for the first time) and now it's gone. That throws a teeny bit of a wrench in the gears of our dynamic. I liked having a comfortable neutral space that we'd both often randomly show up at.

Ah whatever. There's a reason I like guys like him. Needy people freak me out almost as much as they seem to freak him out and I like to have my own space too. His skittishness is juuuust a tad over the top. :smirk: (Although I can fully recognize how I gave off the wrong vibe.) Hopefully I can prove that to him and not sacrafice any dignity in the process. Backing off and maintaining an attitude of relative non-attachment to any particular outcome (aside from prefering open communication) seems to be the key to fulfilling at least the dignity aspect, and probably the proving I'm not a clingy manhunter aspect as well.


Edited by NiamhNyx (05/08/08 10:57 PM)


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InvisibleWhiskeyClone
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8379478 - 05/08/08 11:02 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

He needs a phone.

Random drop-bys could throw anyone off.


--------------------
Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man.  For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire.  Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it.

~ R.W. Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

:heartpump:


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: memes]
    #8379492 - 05/08/08 11:05 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

meams said:
I think you're handling it well.


Keep up the good work - just don't fuck him over [had to say it, for all the skittish guys out there - i know you won't :smile:]




How exactly would one go about fucking him over?  Showing up at his house late at night to freak out and pull some drama-fest about him being heartless and selfish, and include a lot of desperate tears, or something? A guy I dated a few times last fall told me about a girl that did that to him and I couldn't believe that people are really that neurotic! Jesus. I'd hope to have the dignity to let it go gracefully if that's how it seemed to be going. It's people that act like that who entrench the worried skittishness of the kind of guys I tend to like. Sure, they can be total doofs in thier fear of articulating what they want and don't want, but they are always genuinely well intentioned and don't deserve to be spazzed on most of the time.


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: WhiskeyClone]
    #8379521 - 05/08/08 11:10 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

WhiskeyClone said:
He needs a phone.

Random drop-bys could throw anyone off.




Last time I ran into him (sunday) he said he was finally getting a phone this week. I responded with "ooooh, that means I can give you a call once in awhile..." in a jokey kind of way. Then later when he said he wanted to hang out soon and I told him he should call me, he said "well, now I'll have a phone so I can!" The thing is, he hates phones even more than he hates emails (he doesn't respond to them.) :tongue: He's really just an unusually private guy and only likes to socialize when it suits him. :shrug:


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OfflineWordlessNature
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8380394 - 05/09/08 02:48 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Consider elements of your relationship aside from your alleged clingy behavior.

The reason you feel awkward is simply because your affections are not being received openly. For some reason, his attraction towards you is weak in comparison to yours towards him. This is a symptom; most certainly not a cause.

Look beyond what is being said on the surface and examine what is actually taking place. If everything else was going well you likely would not be in the position you are now...


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Invisiblememes
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8380426 - 05/09/08 03:03 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

NiamhNyx said:
Quote:

meams said:
I think you're handling it well.


Keep up the good work - just don't fuck him over [had to say it, for all the skittish guys out there - i know you won't :smile:]




How exactly would one go about fucking him over?  Showing up at his house late at night to freak out and pull some drama-fest about him being heartless and selfish, and include a lot of desperate tears, or something? A guy I dated a few times last fall told me about a girl that did that to him and I couldn't believe that people are really that neurotic! Jesus. I'd hope to have the dignity to let it go gracefully if that's how it seemed to be going. It's people that act like that who entrench the worried skittishness of the kind of guys I tend to like. Sure, they can be total doofs in thier fear of articulating what they want and don't want, but they are always genuinely well intentioned and don't deserve to be spazzed on most of the time.



I have no idea how you'd do it.  I only said it because women always seem to find a way.  I wasn't accusing you of being in the process of fucking him over, or having the idea of it, or anything related.

I just said it because it happens to great guys all-to-often.  There was actually no reason for it, and now that It's 3am i can't quite remember why I said it.  But now that you've analyzed it - the odds of you doing it are drastically decreased...and thus the statement has fulfilled its purpose :smile:

'meh - drunk analysis?  youbetchya!


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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: memes]
    #8380873 - 05/09/08 07:58 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I see two situations here from my own life:

1. You guys kinda hooked up randomly, came on strong, and now he's thinking wtf is this shit? I've had this. I kinda realized the girl was a nice person, but not someone I wanted to be with, personality wise and body (sorry, don't know you, just being shallow here I guess). We're still friends, but I kinda sounded like that guy.

If he's telling you he doesn't want to be physical he may not be that attracted to you physically or he may have second thoughts on the personality issue.

2. He may just mean what he says, i.e. he doesn't want the responsibility to call all the time, have you around constantly and whatnot, but still really likes you as a person and doesn't want to break up. He just doesn't want to become an item w/ you and all that entails w/ expectatiions and hurt feelings.


I don't mean to insult you on the first, but its happened to me and I sounded similar. It was part looks, part personality and lifestyle that just didn't mesh w/ mine at that point in my life. ANd she was a bit insane too.

Good luck, in a relationship you never know wth is going on, but alot of guys feel like #2, and maybe he wants to cut out the physical stuff cuz he doesn't want to make the relationship just sex, cuz that gets pretty weird pretty quick, and he might feel like he's using you or something- which is something society puts on the male, but I digress.


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: johnm214]
    #8381277 - 05/09/08 12:35 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Nah, #1 isn't a possibility. We had a huge mutual crush on each other for months and couldn't even talk to each other. We'd smile and awkwardly say "hi", starting last summer and when we finally hooked up he was as excited about it as I was. "I have such a huge crush on you... I can't believe you're here right now..." bla bla bla. It really would have been better to take even more time once we started talking to get to know each other and ease into it. He said that himself, and I wish it'd happened that way. We started sleeping over every weekend right off the bat, not having sex, but sleeping over nonetheless. That's where he got freaked out about expectations I think.

#2 is pretty much right on the money.

Bah, I feel like I fucked up big time when I dropped by last friday. I'd already seen him two days previous and it was really good. We'd had a really great conversation and the vibe was all crushy and cute like it was before. Then I had to go and accidentally get all up in his space. I should have just pulled back after that and left him to miss me with that good feeling instead. I want to apologize for that but I feel like I shouldn't try to get a hold of him at all. Is a drop by for the sole purpose of saying that acceptable, if I then take it upon myself to leave once it's been said? hmm...


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OfflineJacquesCousteau
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8382275 - 05/09/08 05:48 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

NiamhNyx said: I want to apologize for that but I feel like I shouldn't try to get a hold of him at all. Is a drop by for the sole purpose of saying that acceptable, if I then take it upon myself to leave once it's been said? hmm...




No no no no no.

And no.

GIVE HIM THE SPACE HE WANTS... he'll either decide it's not what he wanted and call you, or he doesn't want to be with you.

I don't mean to be harsh, but you didn't seem clingy until I read that part about stopping by without warning a third day in a row. If the guy doesn't have a phone you've got to space that shit out at least.

Just let it be. Stop thinking about it, and move on. If he calls you, it will be a pleasant surprise. If he doesn't, you're a step ahead of the game because you're already letting him go.

Peace.


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Invisiblemushbaby
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8382979 - 05/09/08 09:36 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

NiamhNyx said:
He's really just an unusually private guy and only likes to socialize when it suits him. :shrug:




I agree with Jacques about no going by to tell him that.  That kind of sounds like you are looking for an excuse to see him again.  If you know he doesn't like to socialize alot then respect that about him.  Accept that about him.  If there is to be a relationship it needs to be at a pace you both are comfortable with.


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: mushbaby]
    #8383252 - 05/09/08 11:10 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

You're right, I know. I'm rational enough to avoid acting on those stupid impulses.

And Jacques, I didn't stop by without calling three days in a row. I stopped by last wednesday because we'd already talked about possibly going to an event that night and agreed I should stop by on my way to confirm whether or not he was going to come. He decided not to because his friend was showing him how to use some audio software and I went to the event myself. Two days later I swung by to let him know about another show he'd be interested in that was happening that night. My mistake was staying for awhile and reading while he jammed with his roomate (he said I was welcome to) when it would've been better to leave. He needs to learn how to say no and I need to stop sticking around when his yesses are less than enthusiastic.

My problem is that I hate when there's even the slightest misunderstanding between me and anyone I care about, friends, lovers or whoever. I'm very oriented towards developing fulfilling and well communicated social relationships, whatever form they take, so I tend to overthink them. In the past I was very needy largely because of an inability to identify and articulate what I really want/need and I've worked hard to get over both issues, so sometimes I put too much effort into thinking of exactly how I should approach further solving them, when sometimes the solution is to just let it be and not think about it at all.

For the record, I do have my eye on someone else, so I'm not waiting around desperately hoping for things to work out, although it'd be nice to get into a space where we were both comfortable, because after the extremely long buildup it'd be kind of anti-climactic for it to fizzle out so soon.


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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #8383565 - 05/10/08 12:36 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

If you have your eye on someone else, you support my earlier statement. There is certainly more to the situation than space issues. I reiterate that such issues are surface issues and are manifestations of a more fundamental problem.

Live under will.


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Re: my love interest has boundary asserting issues... [Re: WordlessNature]
    #8383638 - 05/10/08 12:55 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I disagree. By the sound of it, she and him are doing just fine; but not having a phone has provoked her into dropping in too much. Everyone hates frequent drop ins.


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